A secret identity is a delicate thing. If the wrong person discovers your alter ego, it could mean certain death for you and all of your loved ones. So what happens when the assistant principal finds Miles’ personal journal talking about his adventures as Spider-Man? The same assistant principal who has had it out for Miles since the beginning? I’m sure the hero has never been happier to see the Green Goblin attack.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #15 works as a horror story across multiple levels. It’s full of life-and-death situations and only some of them are tied to the aforementioned Green Goblin attack. Writer Saladin Ahmed paces this perfectly with the tension rising with each turn of the page. Just when you think things can get worse, they do.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is how many people are in on Miles’ secret. It has created a support system around him and has definitely saved his life on at least one occasion. Here we have someone find out that he’d rather not know about his alter ego and it’s handled very well. There’s fear on Miles’ side as he realizes his fate rests in this jerk’s hand, but then the unexpected happens, turning the tables a bit.
This isn’t to say that everything is peachy keen by the end. There’s a massive Green Goblin attack, brilliantly illustrated by Javier Garron. This is where the rest of the horror comes in. This villain is a monster through and through. This time around he’s created a bunch of smaller Goblinoids out of other people, raising the danger factor considerably. The Green Goblin towers over the students as he attacks the school looking for Spider-Man. He’s delighting in the violence he’s causing with a sick grin on his face.
Letterer Cory Petit uses a gruff font that conveys a guttural voice for the Goblin. In my mind the sound of earthquakes comes out of this guys mouth. It adds to the overall monstrous quality. The fires that erupt from his attack create a hellish light on him thanks to colorist David Curiel. This makes for a rather ominous appearance.
With all the terror around in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #15 there’s still a fair amount of comic relief to break that tension. Some of this comes from the great facial work from Garron as the characters rightfully freak out from the Goblin attack. Other times it comes from how they choose to stand up to the villain. Yes, he’s at least twice the size of them and he’s got a Goblin army, but this is their school and they’re not going to let this monster terrorize them.
There’s a great message here about standing up for what’s right, regardless of the obstacles in front of you. This culminates in the fight between Miles and the Goblin, beautifully choreographed by Garron. The intensity steadily builds throughout the fight as these two beat each other through the campus, destroying buildings along the way. It’s a devastating battle that Miles tries his hardest to finish early, but leaves behind an insane amount of destruction. He’s put everyone in danger just by being here and that’s got to hit him hard.
While you might pick up this book to see the adventures of Spider-Man, what will really hook you is how the story affects Miles out of costume. His personal life is just as, if not more important than his costumed one. That connection is what sets this book apart and makes it such a riveting read every single month. The stakes are real for Miles. His decisions, both in and out of costume, affect every aspect of his life and that’s so very compelling.